Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Same Sex Marriage: The 21st Century Human Right Debate

            Same sex marriage has been a controversy in the United States and a cause for social movements across the country. State Legislatures and Courts have split views on the issue. Many have raised the moral question and argue marriage has been traditionally between a man and a woman. The increasing amount of legislative repeals, reviews, and numerous court cases has finally led to the Supreme Court to announce it will review the issue in April and deem if the US Constitution allows same sex marriage. However, the decision that the Supreme Court will be making is very heavy; the Supreme Court is going to be making a decision about a human right, marriage.
            After World War II, the Declaration of Human Rights was written. It opens stating that everyone has human rights despite any conditions that could cause discrimination. Further in the document, in article 16, the declaration of Human Rights states “men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality, or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.” The articles never say a person cannot marry another person of the same sex; it only states that men and women have the right to marry. 
One of the main arguments of people against same sex marriage is that same sex marriage is morally wrong and violates traditional practices. However, denying same sex marriage might be a moral wrong as well. Article 16 of the Declaration of Human Rights continues with two more statements. One of those statements states that marriage is to be entered into only with the full consent of the two people seeking marriage. If two of the same sex people wish to wed, the question of someone, who is not engaged to either person in the wedding party, to decide that two people cannot be wed arises. If two people wish to be wed, no one should have the ability to stop it. In today’s society, government is trying to put a halt to some weddings. The same weddings that the two brides or two grooms fully consented with.
The Supreme Court will also be making a decision on the final point in article 16 of the Declaration of Human Rights which declares that the state is responsible for the protection and recognition of a family unit because it’s fundamental to society. When same sex marriage occurs, some states will recognize the marriage and some won’t. This becomes an issue when birth certificates are made. If a same sex couple has a child, there are two parents and a child. Technically, that’s a family. If same sex marriage is deemed unconstitutional, society might decide not to recognize same sex families. Already, gays face bullying and personal attacks. There is no denying that children of same sex couples will also face personal attacks. If government does not recognize and protect these families through legislation to minimize the attacks, it’s a clear violation of human rights.

The United States Supreme Court is faced with a heavy decision. A modern 21st century social concept is challenging not just the United States Constitution, but to what extent will the United States uphold itself to the Declaration of Human Rights. In just a few short weeks, the Supreme Court Justices will decide. Not everyone will be pleased with the decision, but in a country where human rights and human freedoms are preached from town halls to national televised events, the decision is more than just an issue of marriage. It’s a decision concerning the moral obligation for everyone to have human rights.

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